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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Names Like Azariah

Yesterday I got to T-E-A-C-H!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kyle is a great husband.  He is willing to work extra the four days of the week so that he can get off early on Wednesdays to come watch Eliana.  Yesterday around 1:45 I got an email from Kyle.  A few minutes later I realized that if I was receiving emails that meant he wasn't in the car yet.  AH!  I called him and nicely asked if he was driving yet.  A slightly panicked response said he'd turn off the computer and be out the door in a minute.  I wasn't panicked though.  I'd purposely given both him and me extra time to travel.  He made it home in record time and helped load the car with my cart that was full of art supplies, my Bible, and my journal.  I gave him the run down of were Eliana was in her day and off I went!

I couldn't help it, I smiled almost the whole way there out of pure excitement.  In fact, I'm still smiling as I write this!  I arrived with plenty of time to cut some paper, talk with the office ladies, get another student's permission slip, talk with the After School Program, and chat with a teacher and an aid before the kids started lining up.

I started the lesson by telling them I'd get to share something with them that I didn't get to share as their regular teacher.  I shared how I became a Christian when I was a little younger than them.  Thanks to the Sharing the Gospel seminary through Bible Study Fellowship, I knew how to share the gospel in a few minutes.  I explained that I realized I wasn't perfect.  Sometimes I want to do good things, and I do bad things.  There are even times I want to do bad things and do them.  These bad things are called sin and they separate me from God.  I had two girls right up front paying a little more attention to each other than me.  So, to make my point, I stood right in the middle of them and said, "Wouldn't it be hard to talk to your friend with something standing right in the way?"  As she leaned to see her friend, I blocked her view with dramatic waving arms.  I explained that me standing in the way is like sin.  With giggles from the kids, I think they got my point.  God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to mend the broken relationship caused by sin.  He lived on earth and was perfect.  Even when people were mean and spit on him, said mean things, and beat him, Jesus never did anything wrong.  A student interrupted and said, "And then He died."
"Where?" I asked.
She stretched out her arms and said, "He died on the cross!"
"That's right, but he didn't stay dead.  He rose again three days later.  Because he triumphed over sin, we can have a relationship with him."

Then we jumped into Daniel 1.  I LOVE Daniel 1.  I was reading Daniel back in August and decided this would be the first lesson for the Bible and Art Club.  Initially, the kids didn't want to help read, so I read the first two verses.  I then explained what it would be like if their school and town was besieged.  The very building we were in would be missing a roof, the windows would be broken, and some of the walls might be gone too.  Half of the class would be killed in the process, and the other half would have to walk as slaves wherever they were told to go.  They'd walk because cars hadn't even been invented yet.  They would have to walk a long way, like from here to Nevada.  Just imagine having to walk from here all the way into the city by us.  That made a few kids eyes open wide as they were slowly starting to grasp that being besieged wasn't a good thing.  The walk would be so hard that even if your best friend was still alive, he or she might die on the walk.  Then I gave them a few minutes to talk about what that would feel like.  They jumped into intense conversation. We went on to talk about what it would be like to be forced to have a new name.  I reminded them of the fourth grade story My Name is Maria Isabel.  The fourth graders were ecstatic because they knew the story.  The sixth graders were scratching their heads trying to remember. After a brief summary the fifth and sixth graders were back on board.  They had a lot to tell each other when I gave them the discussion questions, "What would it be like if you were forced to be given a new name?  What if you couldn't even say your new name?  What if you forgot what your new name was?  What if you got in trouble because you couldn't remember your new name?"  I give a lot of credit to the boy who had to read names like Belteshazzar, Hananiah, Shadrach, Mishael, Meshach, Azariah,and Abednego. I reminded them of Marvin of the Great North Woods.  Again, the enthusiasm of the fourth graders was catching since they had just read that story!  I reminded others of the story and then had the fourth graders tell me about Marvin's decisions about food.

"He ate milk and pancakes one day."
"He ate bacon the other."
"What?  No he didn't."
"He has to eat kosher."
"What does it mean to eat kosher?"
"I don't know."
"He is a Jew."
"Back in the book of Leviticus, God told the Jews to eat certain foods and to not eat others.  Marvin followed those food laws even when he was away from his family."

Daniel had the same situation.  He was told to eat a bunch of food that He knew God didn't want him to eat.  He asked for the chief guard to test him and his friends for 10 days by just eating veggies and water.  God blessed them.  I had them think about what was at stake for Daniel to ask to only eat veggies.  I explained that King Nebuchadnezzar killed people when they didn't do what he wanted.  So, Daniel's very life and the guard's life were at stake if they didn't please the king.  We went on to discuss how God blessed Daniel and his friends because they obeyed.

I loved watching the kids faces as we talked about the Bible.  They had already been in class all day, but I had their attention.  They were excited with hands raised, standing up, and enthusiastic expressions.

The art lesson went really well too!  We are doing an art lesson that Kyle and I did back in high school.  You can see two of the examples of my work here.  The kids learned how to use a ruler to divide their page in half rather than folding it in half.  They wrote their names and used tracing paper to mirror it on the other side of the divided page.  I look forward to seeing them work on it some more next week!

Another blessing was that as I went to deliever some rulers to a teacher, I stopped in at the vise principal's office.  She wanted to know all about the club meeting.  I saw this as open door to share some good news!

To catch the background behind Bible and Art Club, read this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Cup of Coffee

Earlier this week I had a Bible study question that said something like: "What unexpected person could you share the good news of Jesus with?"  I stared at the page for a few minutes and thought, "Unexpected... I don't know?"  I then proceeded to skip the question.  My world is "smaller" per say now that I am a stay at home mom.  I have church, Bible study, Christian Mom's group...  Most of the people I see are from planned outings.

The next day Eliana's allergies had gotten to her enough that I was willing to go and pick up some Claritin for children as my doctor had suggested.  The Walgreens near us tends to have homeless people around it.  I'm not sure why since many of the other stores around there don't.  There have been probably close to a dozen times that Kyle or I have been asked for some spare change at that Walgreens.  We have chosen to not give money in most instances.  We'd rather buy food.  Sonic is right next door.  It isn't super healthy by any means, but if you're hungry it would be good in the belly.

Being a mom has made me hypersensitive to those around Eliana.  I find having an infant makes me more vulnerable than already being a young female who doesn't have a black belt in karate.  Plus, Kyle took a self defense class last year that made me even more sensitive/fearful of possible harmful situations.

With all of that being said, picture me sitting in the back seat with the door open as I am lifting Eliana into her car seat.  A man in his 40s with a semi nice red shirt and baggy pants, weathered skin, and sounding as though he might be missing a tooth or two stands from the sidewalk and asks me if I have any change.  Even though I'm often fearful, I wasn't at that time.  Cautious?  Oh yes, but not fearful.  I told him that I wouldn't give him change, but that I'd buy him something at Sonic.  He said okay.  With Eliana on my hip, I started walking up to the sidewalk and made a left so that I'd be walking in front of the building, which is also on the busy street side with other customers parking regularly.  The man had started walking to the back of the building, but I wasn't going to walk that way.  When there was about 20 feet between us, I think he realized I wasn't following him and he said, "Oh, are you going that way?"  I also at that time realized he wasn't following me, turned, told him yes and continued walking.  He changed directions and followed me.  As we walked I asked him what he'd like to eat.  He said a cup of coffee.  I thought it was odd to want just coffee at 3 in the afternoon on a gloriously beautiful day, but figured I couldn't force him to eat food.  I offered again to buy a meal, and he said, "No thanks. I have some chocolate bars."  I asked if Sonic even sold coffee.  He wasn't sure, but figured we'd find out.  We took a few more steps and he said, "You know, what I could really use is some cigarettes."

Me, the girl who has a grandfather with emphysema and coughs at the smell of smoke, kept walking and said, "Well, I won't be buying that for you."

As it turns out, Sonic has 3 kinds of coffee.  There are two fancy drinks and some regular brewed coffee.  While ordering:
Me: "Would you like a small or large?"
Him: "Large"
Me: To the intercom, "May I have a large coffee please?"  To him, "Cream?"
Him: "Yes"
Me: "A cream please."
Him: "Two."  I chuckled to myself at his specification of two.
Me: To the intercom, "Make that two creams please."
Him: "Oh, and some sugar."
Me: "May we have a sugar too?"
Him: "Three."
Me: "May we have three sugars?" Another smile to myself.  I guess everyone is entitled to have a preference when it comes to coffee.

I sat down at the table and he followed suit by sitting across from me.  He asked how old Eliana was.  I told him nine months and asked if he had any kids.  He has a daughter, but her mom moved away.  He doesn't get to see her often.

Then there was a lull as we waited for the coffee.  I thought, "Well, I could ask him if he knows Jesus."  But did I?  No.  I chose to sit there in silence and miss an opportunity.  The coffee came.  I told him I hoped he enjoyed it and left.

John 3:17 and 18 says, "17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Did I show God's love by spending a little money to buy a man coffee? Yes.  Did I love him with truth, God's truth? No.  Did I step out of my comfort zone? Yes.  Was I whole heartedly obedient to God as He stirred my heart? No. What did I have to lose?  I didn't know the man.  I still don't even know his name.

On the flip side of all of this, last week I did give a homeless man some strawberries and a Bible that I  happen to find in my glove compartment just the week before.  It probably would have helped to say something, but at least he has the Word now.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday's Walk

 There is a field near Kyle's work.  He showed me where these purple flowers were.  I never would have noticed them if I was driving.  I'm so glad we were walking and got to enjoy their beauty.
 Can you find the spider?
Eliana was busy trying to find the puff cereal in her hand.

9 Months Old!!!

Last Friday, Eliana turned nine months old!  I fully intended to post these pictures on Friday.  However, my wee one decided to take a 30 minute nap rather than a nice hour or even two hour afternoon nap.  We rescued the rest of the day from being overly cranky by bringing Kyle some strawberries at work and walking around his work until he got off.  We then headed over to another area to eat some delicious Mexican food and do some more walking around some shops.

Eliana now weighs 17 and 1/2 pounds!

She is a little less than 27 inches long.

We found out that this runny nose and congestion she has been fighting on and off since February is allergies.

She doesn't always enjoy taking pictures right before nap time.

She still has just two teeth.  You often can't see them when she is smiling.

Other details about our bouncing bundle of joy:
* down to two naps
* takes at least one if not both naps in the crib
* enjoys playing with everyone at BSF on Wednesdays
* LOVES being outside
* has a hard time sleeping at night due to congestion
* gets SO excited when her dad comes home
* loves getting all of the attentions from Rachel, Ruli, and Bryce
* tried black beans and zucchini recently
* will get to try watermelon and cantaloupe soon!!!
* loves to stand
* can scoot around while sitting
* is very close to crawling
* LOVES to stand
* is growing out of the phase where she smiles and giggles at every funny face, and that makes me sad.  Although in part, it might be due to all of the allergies.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Gift

Did you know that I was in choir as a child?  I even had solos and parts in plays!  I find that rather humorous since I can be such a shy person at times. During one summer we put on a play after just one week of intense preparation.  My team wore purple shirts and we sang about being purple people eaters... something that at the time didn't make any sense to me at all.  At the end of the performance, the pastor stood up to pray with all of us kids still on stage.  He had us cup our hands and think about a gift we could give God.  I didn't have a job or much money.  In fact, I don't remember money even coming to mind.  It is possible the pastor lead us to think outside of financially how we could bless God. I thought for awhile and wondered what I was good at that would be a blessing to God.  That day, as a young child, I handed over art.  I loved art and thought I was good at making art.

It has taken me many years to figure out how to give this gift to God.  An idea started back in August when I was desperate to go back to work, and yet completely unwilling to leave Eliana in someone else's care.  In the middle of the night, during one of Eliana's many feedings, I prayed about how to serve God while staying home.  I craved teaching, yet I had no idea how I could possibly teach full time as a new mom.  I initially thought it would be really cool to create an art club.  I had played with the idea during the five years I taught, but I really didn't know when I could find the time or energy to add one more lesson to my week.  As I prayed, a thought hit me.  Giving kids the opportunity to create art is fabulous, but in the grand scheme of eternity is it enough?  I started Bible studies when I was in high school, college, and beyond, but never with kids.  Was there a way to tie the Bible and art?  God gave me the seeds for my first art and Bible lesson.  And then came a long winter, literally.  I had talked with my former superintendent about the idea back in September, but the ball really didn't get rolling.  I had prayed, and prayed, and prayed that this club would take off if it was God's plan and in His timing.  I sent emails once a week for a month to keep the ball rolling, and decided that God needed to move for the club to start.  Over the months of not hearing back I tried to be okay with God's timing not being mine.  Let's just say that I was unsuccessful at times in being okay with His timing not matching mine.

At the beginning of this month I got a call from my superintendent.  Among other things, he wanted to discuss the Bible and Art Club.  I was blown away.  It had been six months with not even a single word about the club.  Not only could the ball get rolling again, but the club could start this year.

Today Eliana and I paid a visit to my school.  Eliana visited with teachers while I showed students some sample art work and talked to the 4th-8th graders during lunch about a Bible and Art Club that I'll be starting next Wednesday.  I had been given 30 permission slips to pass out.  After the 6th-8th grade lunch, I didn't have any left and had to go make copies for the 4th-5th graders.  I passed out another 30 and went back to make 20 more copies.  Nearly ever copy was gone by the end of lunch.  Now, do I really expect nearly 80 kids to come?  Um... no.  I know that some were simply excited about seeing the art, others will be in tutoring, and sadly there will be students that find their parents don't want them in the club.  I'm hoping and praying for 20 students.

What do you see?
A name?
An insect?

What do you see?
A name?
This piece is still in progress.  Kyle gave me the idea to show the students work in progress so that they don't just see a finished product and think they can't do that.  Actually, I showed them the first piece today and won't show it to them again until after they get their own ideas going for their own piece.  
Now do you see my wee one's name?  Go back up and see if you can find the butterfly.

Now do you see Daniel's Babylonian name from Daniel 1?  Daniel 1 is were our first lesson will be.          Click here to read Daniel 1.  Go back up and see if you see the totem pole looking faces.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Roadside Beauties

Eliana and I brought a meal to some friends who live about 30 minutes away.  In between our homes is some gorgeous country side.  On the way home we stopped off to capture some of God's stunning work.

Eliana is a roadside beauty too!  She has to have one of us by her when she sits on the toy graciously given to us this past Sunday.  Kyle and Eliana got a kick out of each other as he moved her around and made car noises.

I introduced this toy to Eliana this past Monday morning.  After her nap, I brought her back into the livingroom.  She got so excited to see this toy again!

I know St. Patrick's Day was yesterday and that I already posted a bunch of her in this cute outfit, but I decided I really like this shot too and had to share it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Standing, A Few Seconds at a Time

Eliana's favorite activity is to stand.  She LOVES to stand and is quite proud of herself.  We got a kick out of her motor boat sounds and saying, "Da da da!"

She enjoys chewing on her books.

Smiling for the camera is something she has grown to be very good at.

OH and reading, she loves to read!!!  Or maybe it is just looking at the pictures;)

Happy St. Patrick's Day & Happy Birthday Mom!

When kids are little they know holidays are coming, but they don't know exactly when.  Or that is how I remember it.  Relatives birthday are even harder because the stores aren't decorated to tell you that a birthday is coming.  One of the first holidays I learned was St. Patrick's Day, because it is my mom's birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!
 Eliana is getting so close to crawling.  It made this photo shoot quite hard.  She was on our bed and trying to get to me.  I happened to be next to the bed. Thus the problem was that she kept quickly scooting to the edge of the bed.  It is hard to take pictures and keep a quick baby on the bed!  Yikes!

 She has quick fingers too!  She kept swiping at the camera and me determined to win!

 This photo shoot happened to be right before nap time.  She became calm and enjoyed looking out the window for a few moments.

This is such a rare pose for Eliana.  She is so often up and ready to explore.

She didn't fall asleep during these photos, but I did lay her down right after changing her into something a little warmer.  The dress is super cute, but not quite what is needed for a little girl who has a runny nose that keeps coming and going for nearly two weeks now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Spring Walk

I know that it is technically still winter for a few more days, but I see spring everywhere!
 Kyle was sick Friday through Sunday.  He slept probably close to 20 hours of the first two days.  So, Eliana and I ventured outside while he napped.  Thankfully, he is feeling much better!  This was picture was taken at a bit of a distance.  I was hoping to find more of these flowers up close.  They are probably my favorite spring bloom.

I had never seen these before. I was started by them when I looked up close.  I'm guessing they'll bloom some more soon, but they are pretty neat in this form too.

Humming birds can be very hard to spot, but I found this one way up in a tree!

I was totally bummed by my walk, because I didn't find the flowers I was looking for from my first picture.  I took another way on my drive home, and ta-da I found a whole grove of them!!!

Fuzzy Flowers

I love that the weather was nice on Monday and Tuesday.  Eliana and I went on walks during the day and the Kyle joined us for evening walks!  
These flowers remind me of seahorses.  Does anyone else see them???

These are the same flowers but from a slightly different angle.  Pretty cool eh?  It is amazing what bending the knees can get you when it comes to photography.

Do you see the fuzz on these flowers?  I'm amazed at God's details in the small things.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eliana Outdoors

It is absolutely gorgeous out today!  Eliana LOVED being outside!  It was actually kind of hard to take her picture since she found so much to look at. Below are some possible thoughts of my wee one who is getting SO BIG!
Ha Ha! I found the grass!


Is this my better side?

Or this one?

Look, the plant behind me makes me look like I have some CRAZY hair!

Awe, aren't I cute?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Leanne had mentioned how much Evangeline doesn't like to go shopping.  I clearly remember going to Winco when Eliana was her age. I tried to be brave and go by myself.  My timing worked well so that I fed her and got through all of the shopping at a quick pace.  The only problem was getting in line.  By that time she was done being awake and wanted to sleep.  I couldn't hold her and load the groceries onto the conveyor belt, nor could I hold her and bag.  Eliana went from whimpering to all out screaming.  For months after that, Kyle went with me grocery shopping so that line time could be daddy or mommy time.  With the memory clear in my mind, I offered to watch Evangeline while Leanne and Malachi went shopping.  When Eliana was younger, I didn't feel confident that I could handle Eliana and anyone else.  Now that she is 8 months, I figured I had a little bit more understanding of how Eliana worked.  Evangline got dropped off while Eliana napped.  I did what I do with Eliana oh so often; we had a photo shoot!

I love her gorgeous blue eyes!!!

Evangeline had already passed her smiling window, but she was a good sport for photos.

The months of rocking Eliana paid off.  I was able to rock Evangline to sleep in about 3 minutes!  Wahoo!  Five minutes after laying her down, Eliana woke up.  It all worked out wonderfully.  It was so nice to be able to help out Leanne and to visit with Evangeline.  She made me realize how big Eliana is getting!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A proud daddy

This morning, while mom slept, I was handing Eliana puffs.  Puffs are cereal-like snacks for babies that melt in your mouth.  She opened her mouth and leaned forward for me to put it in her mouth.  However, I moved my hand far enough away that she had to pick it out of my hand herself.  A puff went into the palm of her hand so that she couldn't see it.  Since she couldn't see it, she thought it wasn't there and put her hand out for another one.  Ha.  We tried again.  She used her thumb and either forefinger or middle finger to pick it up.  Once a puff was in her grasp, I pushed her hand to her mouth.  When the puff hit her gums she let go and started chomping on it.  SCORE!  She did that twice this morning.  The third puff required my help to get it into her mouth.

Last night, I sat Eliana in the floor to play while I lowered the matress in her crib.  She took the top off of a toy cookie jar, reached into it, grabbed individual shapes, and pulled them out.  WOW!  Once all the shapes were on the floor she began gumming the cookie jar.  Tasha put the shapes back inside and Eliana did it again.  I remember about three weeks ago that she wouldn't put her hand in the cookie jar, let alone notice the shapes inside of it. 

I am such a proud daddy!

It is Finished!

I finished the piece I started here and continued to work on here!  Eliana and I dropped it off at Fiful earlier this week.  They were so excited to have original art.  I was simply blessed to create art, know that it would be put up some place, and be able to put to use some of Eliana's nap time for God.
Eliana enjoyed admiring my work:)

I had to take a slightly slanted shot since the piece is now in glass.  Kyle fixed up the frame with a little putty, new paint, card board backing, and new fasteners to keep the back on.  I married a handy man!
Here was my inspiration.  I took this photo back in July 2008 while vacationing with Tara and her family in Santa Cruz.  I was stunned by these flowers that seemed to hang upside down.